Monday, 6 August 2012
Ye Shi Wen - A very fast swimmer
Somehow I did not has as much anticipation about this Olympics as the previous Olympics. It had been much less publicised, or maybe I've gotten old and am less excited about this. Infact I only realised the London Olympics have started, after the opening ceremony had finished.
Now a week into the Olympics it seems that this Olympic is more about tears, bitterness and lameness (badminton players trying to lose?) than sportmanship. What I want to talk about though is the case of the Chinese swimmer, Ye Shi Wen who has won gold in both the 400m and 200m individual medley.
Unless you have been stuck in a cave, you would have heard all the accusations and speculations about "doping".
This started with the American coach John Leanard who basically said that her performance in the 400m event was "impossible" and "unbelievable"
Now that's a funny thing to say, given that the swim did happen. That's like saying going to the moon is impossible. ( well, that's another debate I suppose). Anyway, it DID happen, so what he was really insinuating is that it was impossible without the use of drugs. And now the media has run away and continually reviving the allegation that her performance could be drug related despite all the drug tests been negative.
Sour grapes much?
And the reasoning for this accusation ?
Because she swam very fast !
Yes! She swam very fast, at the Olympics, faster than any woman has ever swam before!
Wow, no way! She must be cheating!
Does that sound ridiculous to you as it does to me?
Sounds ridiculous to me, and I find it stupid and annoying.
First of all, we are talking about the Olympics, where the fastest and strongest men and women from around the world gather to put everything they have into being the world's best.
And you know what? Sometimes they swim or run faster than ever before. Wow! Impossibleu!!
She swam the 400m medley in 4:28.43 whereas the last Olympic record was 4:29.45. Wow unbelievable! She beat it by 1 second! How can the world record be beaten at the Olympics? Never in a million years could I have imagined that world records could be broken at the Olympics. My reality has been shattered~!
Ok, then we narrow down to the more specific focus of the accusations. The last 50m freestyle lap.
Hey it was so fast , it was faster the Ryan Lochte's?!
Does that mean she cheated? No.
Was that Ryan's fastest 50m freestyle ever?
No. She did not beat Ryan's best 50m time. Just the time he did in this Olympics, the one where he was leading comfortably at the end. And she was slower than the other men in the same race.
BTW I checked my "laws of the universe" book, and no where did it say that
"Shi Wen can never beat Ryan in any 50m stretch"
In fact it doesn't even say
"No woman can ever outswim a man"
Lets analyse this using basic science principles we learnt from school
1. Ryan Lochte is one of the best male swimmers in the world
2. Ye Shi Wen is a woman swimmer
Ye Shi Wen can never beat Ryan Lochte in any 50m stretch.
Race them in the same event and time them
Hey, she really did swim faster than Ryan in that 50 m
See? That is science. Conclusion based on fact and observation. Not speculation.
Lets talk about what if" she was cheating?
Drugs? What kind off drugs?
Erythropoietin? Some other magic drug not detectable?
So far, all her drug tests have been negative. And world athletes have regular blood test to detect other changes that could be attributed to drugs , such as an increase in haemoglobin as a consequence of EPO.
When did she start using drugs? After the last World Championships?
What interest me is, what kind of drug would make you swim just faster in the last 100m?
The only thing I can think of is drugs that make you pass gas at the last lap so you get extra propulsion.
Swimming fast in the last 100min doesn't increase the likelihood of drug use at all. If you had been using drugs, it would make sense you would be fast the whole 400m. Not just the last 100m.
These arguments just don't make any sense to me,
If you would like a more in-depth analysis here is an analysis of numbers.
Bottom line is
All Olympic athletes are freaks to me, and they routinely do things that us mere humans are incapable of.
We should just celebrate their awesomeness rather than be bitter and jealous about what they are achieving.
I have no doubt her current record will be broken in the future and the "impossible" number will just be a norm for future elite athletes.
Let me leave you with some numbers
Ben Johnson ran the 100m in 9.79s in 1988 in Seoul. He was later disqualified after being tested positive for stanozolol.
The current world record is held by Usain Bolt at 9.58s. And he is not the only one who has surpassed Ben Johnson's anabolically boosted time.